Things for teams to try: Improving Free to be yourself

Create the freedom to be yourselves and you'll work happier and protect yourselves against mental exhaustion.

8 Free to be yourself - team

1. Connect to the core of you

Happiness in life and work is partly about the positive connection we have with ourselves. To connect with our inner selves, we usually need to find stillness to pursue, come to know, and then sustain this connection.

How to do it:

  • Make space for an activity that allows you to connect to your inner self: meditation, yoga, bike rides, quiet walks in the countryside, days where the to-do list is ignored and sabbaticals are all good ways of doing this.
  • Take time to really think about the below questions:
  • What do I stand for?
  • What are my hopes and fears?
  • How do I feel appreciated?
  • When do I do my best work?
  • Have I retained my own sense of self amid the constant background of needs, advice and received wisdom?

2. Declare an end to your work day

Rituals that allow us to turn away from work and into other aspects of our lives are important. Make a ceremony out of marking the end of your work day so you can step mindfully into the rest of your life.

How to do it:

  • Mark the end of the work day in your mind so you can make space to reconnect and restore. This is especially important when we finish the work day frustrated or stressed.
  • Build in rituals that are personal to you, e.g:
  • Turn off your work phone.
  • Use a journey to transition from work to home.
  • Do some exercise.
  • Hug your loved ones.
  • Take the dog out.
  • Make a nice meal.

3. Align personal and team goals

The highest performing teams sustain and support the individual as well as the collective. Plus feeling self-direction is a core psychological need. It's easier to find our motivation to help the team perform if we can see how our efforts fulfil some of our personal goals.

How to do it:

  • Use 1:1s to check in with personal goals and discuss how they align with the goals of the team.
  • Don’t expect there to be perfect alignment between personal and team goals.
  • Get to know each other as a group and as individuals so you can tune in with the team’s goals but still feel self-directed about work.

4. Identify and share your work pattern.

We focus better when we work in short bursts and take breaks. The amount of time we can maintain concentration is different for everyone and different for every task.

How to do it:

  • Encourage each other to find what work-break pattern works best for each of you.
  • Appreciate that you and your colleagues will all have different patterns; Julia Gifford suggests 52 minutes of work followed by a 17 minute break, while James Levine suggests 15 minute bursts of activity.
  • Watch your creativity and productivity grow!

5. Use Tony Hsieh's rules

Tony Hsieh championed individuals being themselves at the successful shoe company Zappos with two rules. He believed in leading with positivity and happiness, and that when people were themselves, they would form emotional connections with customers and each other.

How to do it:

  • Be yourself
  • Use your judgement